The Seurat statues are returning to Davenport’s Credit Island — again — but the city’s parks department is none too thrilled about it.
The 10 carved statues inspired by the Georges Seurat painting “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” were first installed by River Action Inc. on Credit Island in 1998 as one of nine Riverway art projects around the Quad-Cities.
Since then the statues have undergone three major refurbishings to repair damage caused by interior wood rot, insects, vandals and weathering, and Seve Ghose, Davenport parks director, is adamant that the statues should be placed in an inside location.
“They are not going to make it through another year (outside), I can tell you that,” he said.
But Kathy Wine, director of River Action, which is paying for the most recent refurbishing, is equally adamant that the statues be returned to Credit Island. She hopes for a dedication ceremony sometime in the next couple of weeks.
As far as the parks department moving the carvings, Ghose said, "It is not as if we will not lift a finger to help with the statues, but it is tough to do with the constrained staff and added responsibilities."
In the past, the statues were brought in during the winter and at times of flooding.
“It’s becoming too much of a chore for our staff,” Ghose said. “They are not an easy thing to move. We don’t have the manpower; we are stretched so thin. I’ve been here 20 months and we’ve added 500 acres. Staffing has not changed in accordance. It’s not that we don’t care. We just don’t have the capability to do it anymore.”
Wine said she understands that the park department does not want to deal with the statues and that “we’ll find someone who will.”
“That’s our job,” she said.
The most recent fix-up began when the statues were taken in the fall of 2007 to Davenport North and Central high schools where art students repainted them.
They recently were moved to Johnson Contracting Co., East Moline, where a heavy-duty urethane finish is being applied, the same kind of finish that the company applies to outdoor control panels.
“It’s real durable,” Augie Rodemeyer, Johnson Contracting project manager, said. “This is a really good coating.”
The coating, along with new bases and new concrete pads fabricated by C.E. Peterson Sons, Moline, will cost between $5,000 and $10,000, Wine said. The cost will be paid by River Action maintenance funds.
Transportation is being donated by Tom Roederer of Roederer Transfer & Storage, Davenport.